April 8, 2014
READ: Isaiah 52:1-12
Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyful song, for the LORD has comforted his people (v.9).
A friend had been working at a job he loved for many years when he was suddenly laid off. He took another position at a new company, but the work was not as fulfilling and didn’t pay well. Then the first employer asked him to return, which he did with joy. Sadly, he and most of the workforce were again laid off just 7 days later. The other company wouldn’t take him back and he’s now working a menial, poorly paid job. His dreams of having a position he needs and loves have been shattered.
Isaiah spoke to the heart of God’s people whose dreams had been shattered after they’d been forced into exile by Babylon. Having already known the bitterness of being oppressed by Egypt in the past and—more recently—by Assyria, they were “enslaved again” (Isaiah 52:4-5). Hopes of living with honour and liberty were buried in the “dust” of their “captivity” (vv.1-2,11).
God gave His people hope through the words of His prophet. Isaiah wrote of “the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” (v.7). Hope is found in a God who’s in control even when life seems to be out of control. “The LORD will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind” (v.12). Hope is found in a God “who has our back” even when we feel like we’ve been stabbed in the back.
As I talked with my hurting, disillusioned friend, I didn’t focus on his current circumstances, but on what God was doing in and through him. When we feel like we’re in exile caused by a difficult relationship, job or situation, it’s vital that we find our hope in God’s character and His “good work within” us (Philippians 1:6). He can take shattered dreams and create something beautiful. —Tom Felten
2 Samuel 13:20-39 ‹365-day plan
Read Psalm 98:1-3 and note what it says about God and why we should place our hope in Him.
What are some shattered dreams you need to bring to God? How has God given you hope over the years?